Don’t stop believing

Nick Loyal
Dan Daranciang

Freshman move-in day traditionally brings three things: weather that makes hundreds of East-Coast parents question Missouri’s status as a nondesert state, traffic quandaries that bring meter maids tears of joy, and, above all else, an undeniable feeling of optimism and excitement among the members of the entering class. Two days later, as upperclassmen move in, everything remains- except possibly the optimism.

In one case, a man who worked his whole life to learn sits in the town he grew up in because returning to this place for a second year is something he cannot wrap his brilliant mind around without feeling it falter.

In another case, a beautiful woman walks out of her apartment onto a campus that can give her everything she wants, only to be deathly afraid that she’s not good enough to be among the intellectual demigods she has made her fellow students out to be.

And in the third through 1,174th cases, youth on the brink of adulthood sit down in their first day of Orgo class wondering if they really want to be doctors-or if there is something else.

College, despite all of its joys, can be a place of considerable duress. Depression is common, self-destructive behavior is more rule than exception, and the collective weight of being away from home, adapting to a new way of life and planning the rest of one’s existence is enough to make anyone feel like you just can’t pull off everything that someone out there (or someone inside) is expecting you to do. Even the best four years of your life have their low points.

When I visited the University before my freshman year, one of the guys I talked to calmly informed me that for nearly every student on campus there is at least one time when they consider transferring to an institution that is less rigorous, less expensive and may actually care about organized athletics. I thought this was unusual until halfway through last March when I found myself standing in the admissions office of the University of Missouri filling out a housing request card.

Freshman year is the greatest year of your life, and those who are just starting it should not read this and think that their first six months at college will make them empty shells of their former selves. But for all the upperclassmen who may have ever felt this way, there is a reason that you’re still in 63105 reading this: You’re good enough.

Sure, that’s a little campy, but consider it my “convocation” for the year (only without a funny hat, glowsticks and free ice cream). For the Class of 2008, 1,452 matriculated out of 19,822 applicants. If you are a transfer, you did well enough in your previous work to be admitted. Everyone at this place is good-and for one reason or another, that’s why it’s so hard.

One of the best messages put forth at convocation is the notion that despite the intellectual brilliance of the people in the room, only 5 percent of the freshman class will be in the top 5 percent of the class. This is said to make sure that those phone calls home when John and Jill get Cs on their first Chem exams will be expected-but it’s the wrong message. Every student at this school can excel; we had to in order to get in. So rather than fear the hammer of the coming year, believe in what you can do. Take what is yours, earn the respect you deserve and never feel that you aren’t good enough. Granted, someone might do it better, but even the man at home, the woman in fear, and the pre-meds in Orgo weren’t the best at what they were doing. And you’ll never believe what they’ve done since.

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